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URLs OR The last ugly thing in web apps

Just look at this URL:

Ouch! That is what I see in the Google Chrome address bar, while watching The Event – Us or Them on Netflix.

How about this URL to a page for buying a book from Amazon:

What I want to see is Chrome and every other browser hide the URL garbage after the host name. For example it will be nice to see only in the address bar or even better will be just “Netflix”. Everything else should be hidden because it is in fact an implementation detail which few people understand, and even fewer care about.

So here is a feature request for browser developers:Hide the part of the URL after the domain name by default. Then add a switch for showing/hiding full URL on demand.

App Stores – the future of desktop software distribution

After the success of the iOS App Store, an app store for Mac was a logical step for Apple. Many people have had doubts about a desktop software app store, but it is now official – the way to distribute apps for Mac going forward is the Mac App Store.

What about Microsoft and Windows?

The Windows story is even more exciting. With the release of Windows 8 later this year the most widely used desktop platform will get an app store. Given the Windows user base, the potential reach of a its app store will be huge.

What should we do?

If you are a software developer or publisher you should start working on Windows 8 versions of your products now, because the Windows app market will be bigger than iOS, Mac and Android markets combined.

Android fragmentation is bad for everybody

Android fragmentation will kill Android eventually. Some call this fragmentation a “wider consumer choice”, “differentiation” and other names. In reality it only creates headaches for software developers, hinders software upgrades and slows down innovation.

It has become increasingly hard and expensive to develop quality apps for Android. The problem is not the device choice but that the same code does not work consistently across devices. Single developers and small development shops do not have the resources to buy multiple Android devices. For bigger companies Android apps cost more and take longer to develop.

All that leads to low quality apps or apps that work on just a few device models. Something has to be done.Google should do what Amazon did with Kindle Fire. Google should take complete control over the software platform and maybe they should start making their own hardware too.

Why is it faster and cheaper to develop for Mac?

At Swift Software Group, which is our consulting business, we are seeing now more and more projects that have the requirement to run on Mac and Windows. What we found out is that making a Mac version of a software product almost always takes less effort than making the corresponding Windows version. That is a surprise for everybody, as we have been what some people call “PCs” for a long time. So naturally I started thinking why the Mac development turns out to be more efficient. It is definitely not the tools – Visual Studio is still a better IDE than XCode – it is not the OS either, Mac OS and Windows 7 are both nice and modern operating systems and both are centered around better usability and increased productivity.

So why is it faster and cheaper to develop for Mac?

The first thing about Mac is the stability of the underlying platform. By that I mean that you rarely worry about things like drivers, other software messing up with your software, devices not working as expected and so on problems that are common on Windows . Once something works on the developers’ Macs it works flawlesslyon any Mac worldwide. It just works. With Windows the OS/Hardware combo is never guaranteed to work in a consistent way. It is important to say here that the problem is not Windows by itself, but Windows in combination with the infinite number of hardware, devices and drivers out there.

The second thing that makes your Mac developer life easier is the fact that Mac owners upgrade the system software often. As a result most of your customers run the latest version of Mac OS shortly after Apple releases it. With Windows you have Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, server versions, 32Bit and 64Bit, so at the end you must spend a lot of time (and money) to make sure your product works on every kind of Windows.

Zune will be no more

According to a report by Bloomberg, Microsoft will stop making any new Zune models and shift its focus to developing software for mobile phones and video-game consoles.

That’s unfortunate as Zune seemed to be the only device on the market that offered any alternative to iPod. Particularly the latest Zune HD is not a bad device at all. It has been rated second after iPod Touch by sites like CNet. I think Zune HD might have had a chance in the long run. Let’s hope the Bloomberg’s report turns out just a rumor.